The Treehouse is going into a little vintage house (seen below in an image courtesy of Google Maps) located at 1011 Clearview Ave. about half a block from the Walnut Exchange building that houses Marché. The new restaurant is the project of entrepreneur Corey Ladd, who actually grew up in the house — it’s owned by his grandfather, legendary fiddler Buddy Spicher. (Spicher’s studio, The Fiddle House, used to be next door at 1009 Clearview; that building is now an acoustic string shop, repairing and selling fiddles galore.)
Ladd told me he doesn’t want to spill too many details about the restaurant yet, but The Treehouse will be small (around 44 seats). The cuisine will be based on fresh local ingredients and “the menu will flow as the season changes.”
Particularly welcome is Ladd’s plan to serve food late into the evening, and be a non-smoking venue. (Despite all the bars and restaurants in Five Points, that niche isn’t really filled in the neighborhood yet.)
Ladd said his team is taking time with the renovation, trying to make sure it fits in with the historic neighborhood. (One recent discovery hidden behind a mantle: a 1940s utility bill. Apparently a long-ago homeowner owed $3.17 to NES.)
The Treehouse aims to open at 1011 Clearview sometime in August. You can follow the progress on its Facebook page.
I’ve been saving this one for a, well, un-special occasion. And the occasion? We needed dinner AND paper towels, so a trip down to Big Lots and a stop at Midori Japanese & Korean Restaurant was in order. If Seoul Garden is the fancy Korean spot that we go to when it’s time to celebrate big victories, Midori is where my wife and I go to celebrate little victories, like making it through another workweek. It’s an unassuming spot with a really friendly staff and a low-key atmosphere, a little gem tucked into a strip mall-within-a-strip mall.
When the weather's this pretty — or frankly, even when monsoons are battering the windows — I get excited about cruising the farmers markets on Saturday morning. I say "cruising" because I've come to find there are certain items I'm accustomed to finding at only one market. At the Nashville Farmers' Market, I'm perpetually drawn to the table stand for Betty Jo's Gourmet Slaw, the best condiment I've found since Boscoli olive salad. It's an all-purpose (for me, anyway) near-relish with a sweet-mustardy-briny taste and a mule kick of cayenne that gives a turkey sandwich, burger or hot dog a dash of zip.
Other specialties I've pursued to specific markets:
• Cuppycakes' amazing truffles and baked goods at the 12South Farmers Market (and now at the new West End Farmers Market).
• Ellie's Old Fashioned Donuts dunked hot in a bag at the Franklin Farmers Market. (Mmmm ... farm-raised donuts.)
• The fresh-harvested mushrooms and Karla's empanadas at the West Nashville Farmers Market.
So what items draw you to a particular market — kale rabe, farm-produced meats, pickles? (Note to self: Go pick up a tub of kimchi from Mitchell Deli on Steve Haruch's suggestion.) Does one stand out from another? What specialties will you be elbowing me aside for tomorrow as we convene this week's Open Thread? Feel free to share anything on your mind related to food — meals you've enjoyed this week (or not), cooking experiments that succeeded (or didn't), items you found (or can't).
That's the idea behind the ABC show Recipe Rehab. Each week chefs are invited to tackle a decadent family recipe in an attempt to make a healthier version. Regulars on the show include some notable celebri-chefs like Spike Mendelsohn, Aida Mollenkamp, Candice Kumai and Govind Armstrong. Now the group has compiled some of their best recipes in a book, also titled Recipe Rehab, which was released last week.
The 80 recipes have been simplified and scaled for the home kitchen, and are divided into sections to get you through an entire week of meal planning:
• Healthy Starts like Stuffed French Toast with “No-tella”, Southwestern Breakfast Frittata and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
• Apps and Snacks such as Bacon-Wrapped Figs, Spinach Dip and Stuffed Mushrooms
• Carb Makeovers such as Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Vegetarian Spaghetti & Meatballs and Mexican Lasagna
• “No-Junk” Foods like Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Nachos Supreme and Big Island Burgers
• “Un-Fried” Favorites like Chicken Drumsticks and Biscuits, Fish & Chips and General Tso’s Chicken
• Indulgent Desserts like Peach Cobbler, Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Chocolate Cupcakes
The Duke’s Table falls firmly in the latter category. More than 1,000 recipes are packed into just over 300 pages in this veritable encyclopedia of vegetarian Italian recipes. Subtitled The Complete Book of Vegetarian Italian Cooking, it was originally published in 1930 by Enrico Alliata, the duke of Salaparuta.
A rebel in his time and place, he was a major proponent of not just vegetarian cuisine, but raw food as well. Written in the author’s native Italian, the original book — Cucina Vegetariana e Naturismo Crudo (Vegetarian Cuisine and Natural Raw Food) — has been translated wonderfully to include the author’s eloquence and style and updated for American kitchens. The common sense and science the duke writes about in his introduction to vegetarianism still hold up today.
The book was originally written as more of a guide than a cookbook, but the update includes actual recipes instead of guidelines. Still, if you are new in the kitchen, some of the recipes may be a little tough for you, as they do not include step-by-step photos or even photos of the finished dishes. But even if you are more Boyardee than Batali, there are plenty of recipes for you. They range from the simple (yet elegant) like Deviled Egg Crostini and Cucumber Juice Soup — which anyone can make — to the more elaborate, such as The Queen’s Timballo and Cauliflower Souffle (which I'm not going to attempt any time in the near future).
Many of the recipes are heavy on dairy and eggs (as a standard vegetarian, I’m OK with that). But a respectable number of recipes are vegan, and there’s an entire section of the book devoted to raw foods, including soups, main courses and even desserts. And the duke makes excellent notes on ingredients, such as, “the pollen [of chopped zucchini blossoms] gives off a seafood flavor,” a comment included in a recipe for mock clam soup.
If this post seems like a bit of a love letter to this book, that’s because it is. I haven’t been this excited about a cookbook (eh, any book) since Bittman’s vegetarian book. Opening it to a random page yields a number of recipes for dishes I want to try immediately. Though I’ll need to save my pennies for black truffles and good saffron for some of them. But I can make a deviled cheese crostini any time. And a fig bread next month!
Unless you've been living in a reclaimed antebellum grist mill for the past year under a pile of bleached barnwood, you probably know that Brock is a nationally celebrated chef (and former Nashvillian) who's opening a spin-off to his original Husk in Charleston — which was named named Bon Appétit's best new restaurant of 2011 among heaps of other national praise.
In today's issue of the Scene, Chris Chamberlain shares the scoop leading up to this eagerly awaited opening.
And if you're interested in reservations, get cracking. At this writing, the online reservations page has no tables available until after 9 p.m. on June 9.
Husk Restaurant is at 37 Rutledge St. in a renovated Victorian house on Rutledge Hill, overlooking downtown. The phone number is 256-6565.
This year's edition will be held at 6:30 p.m., May 31, at the zoo, and the food and drink lineup is pretty darned impressive. Tennessee breweries represented include: Blackstone, Calfkiller, Chattanooga, Fat Bottom, Jackalope, Mayday, Turtle Anarchy, Hap & Harry's and Yazoo. Regional and national breweries on the roster include: Abita, Bluegrass (BBC), Blue Pants, Bridgeport, Brooklyn, Erie, Finch's, Flat 12, Good People, Green Flash, Highland, Kentucky Ale, Lagunitas, Left Hand, Lazy Magnolia, New Belgium, North Coast, Oskar Blues, Red Brick, Rivertown, Samuel Adams, Schlafly, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Southern Tier, Starr Hill, Straight to Ale, Sweetwater, Tenth and Blake, Terrapin and Crispin Cider.
A long list of food trucks will be on hand for attendees to fill their bellies. The Grilled Cheeserie, Hoss' Loaded Burgers, Riffs Fine Street Food, Wrapper's Delight, Biscuit Love, Smoke Et Al, Smokin Thighs, The Waffle Brothers, Yayo's O.M.G., Jenis, Gigi's Cupcakes and DoughWorks Craft Doughnuts will be parked and ready to feed the masses.
There are several different ticketing options including a $50 general admission that includes a souvenir tasting glass, and a $99 VIP level that offers access to a special VIP area that will feature six breweries with two special beers that are just for the VIP area. Each beer will be paired with small plates prepared by Whole Foods Market. Food in the VIP area is served during the entire duration of the event and is prepared and cooked fresh on site. Seating provided in the area. VIP guests also receive free rides on the carousel. Limited to 200 guests. Designated driver admissions are available for $20 if you want to join in the fun without partaking of the beverages.
The first class in the series focuses on Kurdish cooking, which is quite appropriate considering Nashville has the largest Kurdish community in the entire country. The class will be taught by Najat Al Zahawi and Jennifer Justus. Students will learn to prepare biryani served with salad, flatbread, tea and arak, a Middle Eastern liqueur made with fermented dates. Najat will also share historical context and personal stories behind these dishes and why she chose them. The class will be held in a private home in East Nashville on Wednesday, June 5, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and costs $45.
Future Culture Kitchen classes promise to focus on the cuisine of Mexico, to learn about mole and tamales, as well as Bhutan, Honduras or Somalia. If you're interested in any of these classes, you can find out more and register at The Skillery's website.
I tried Duke’s. I want to be hip, I want to be cool, but I just can’t like Duke’s. It was okay in egg salad, but on my tomato sandwich and on its own, it was just too bland and a bit sour. I like Kraft. Hellman’s, too. Even Blue Plate (thanks, Tracey!). But I cannot abide Duke’s. My objection to it started #mayogate (dubbed as such by BJ Lofback of Riffs, who actually prefers Kewpie) on Twitter, as the Duke’s army put out a call of support. Within 24 hours, it became clear that Duke’s is the preferred mayonnaise around these parts. It’s got a solid base in the Carolinas and has been spreading across Tennessee, strangling out the others like it's the kudzu of mayo. Perfectly logical people — and even some Yankees — have indicated that, though raised on Kraft or Hellman’s, they are now firmly Team Duke’s.
So, what’s the difference? Duke’s is the only one of the big name brands that does not add sweetener. There’s a bit more vinegar in there, too. According to commenter, Wallace Powers, it’s more like homemade. But that really depends on where home is, now doesn’t it? Authentic Dutch and French mayonnaise (which I love on my frites) has no sugar (d’oh!). Kewpie mayo contains sweet vinegar and MSG (see?). As for homemade, the first result in my Google search yields Alton Brown’s recipe for mayonnaise. And there it is: sugar. A-ha! And who’s more Southern than Alton Brown? Oh, he’s from L.A.? Okay then, Paula Deen, maybe? Dammit, no sugar in her recipe.
Nevertheless, the south is a large region, and Nashville is right smack in the middle of it, so we’re going to have to learn to get along. Luckily, each one of our favorite mayonnaises are readily available all around town. And at least we can all agree that Miracle Whip is never the right choice.
Follow #mayogate on Twitter and weigh in on this very important matter there or leave a comment with your favorite.
The purpose of the garden was “to provide students and the surrounding community with hands-on experiences that would promote healthy lifestyle choices and an appreciation of where our food comes from.” Students, Hands on Nashville volunteers and community members grow produce, make their own compost and even raise chickens. Not only do they consume what they grow, in the past school year alone, more than 200 pounds of produce from the garden was donated to the Bellevue Food Bank.
The BELL Garden relies on community support to keep going, so they’re hosting a very special event on Friday, June 7. The event starts off with a wine tasting by Red Spirits and Wine at their store at 7066 Highway 70 S. in Bellevue and is followed by a dinner specially prepared by chef Martha Stamps — a very active advocate of healthy meals herself — that includes food from the garden. The dinner will take place in the heart of the garden —which includes an orchard as well as daylily and butterfly gardens — on the grounds of Bellevue Middle School at 655 Colice Jeanne Road. There will also be live entertainment, a silent auction and student-led tours of the farm. Guests get to see and experience exactly what their $100 per-person tickets support. See pictures here of last year’s inaugural event.
To learn more about the BELL Garden, check out their Facebook page. Not only can you follow the progress of the garden and see what’s currently growing and how you can participate, there’s also a lot of helpful information you can use for your own garden.
BELL Garden Dinner BELL
Friday, June 7, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Red Spirits and Wine: 7066 Highway 70 S.
Bellevue Edible Learning Lab at Bellevue Middle School : 655 Colice Jeanne Road
Tickets, $100 per person: bellgarden2 [at]gmail[dot]com
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